Wednesday, August 24, 2011

At least 7 dead and 18 wounded in today's violence

Violence continues to plague Iraq and one of the more curious events in the last 24 hours was a home robbery in Kut where money was stolen. Aswat al-Iraq reports "a traffic police officer" was targeted at home by three armed men who stole 40 million Iraqi dinars. How the robbers knew which home to target isn't known or mentioned. Also avoided is the equally important question of why that money was in the home of the traffic police officer? (In US dollars, that's approximately $34,200.) Aswat al-Iraq also reports that a Diyala home bombing resulted in the deaths of four family members with three more being injured, an attempt to assassinate a police colonel in Diyala Province by bombing resulted in the officer and his bodyguard being wounded and 1 Sahwa ("Awakening," "Sons Of Iraq") has been shot dead in Baquba. In addition, Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing injured three people (one an Iraqi soldiers -- Iraqi police maintain six people were injured in the bombing), a Baquba roadside bombing resulted in 1 man being killed and seven more injured, another Baghdad roadside bombing injured a police officer, a Mosul roadside bombing left "a mother and her daughter" injured and 1 man was shot dead in Mosul. Dar Addustour reports that Sahwa leader Sheikh Ahmed al-Bazi Abu Risha has stated there was a bombing attempt on his life Monday as his convoy traveled between Abu Ghraib and Falluja.

Al Rafidayn notes that the Integrity Commission announced Monday that the chair of Iraq's network news and three others were arrested Monday, accused of several crimes including bribery and forgery. Meanwhile Al Mada reports Iraqiya is accusing Nouri al-Maliki of stalling in naming a new Minister of Electricity (the minister resigned in the midst of a scandal over contracts). Dar Addustour also notes the charge and they report that Parliament intends to question the Deputy Minister of Electricity about contracts and other issues arising from the scandal. This takes place as Iraqi President Jalal Talabani works overtime to smooth over differences between the political blocs to allow Iraq to move past Political Stalemate II. Dar Addustour reports Talabani met with US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey and US Gen Lloyd Austin where they discussed the steps Talabani was taking regarding encouraging the naming of the ministers to the security posts.

Moving over to Iraq's legal system, Kholoud Ramzi (niqash) reports:

The number of female judges in Iraqi courts has increased dramatically and a new law may increase the number further. But most won’t be promoted. Even high ranking lawyers think they’re best heading the family courts.
Iraq currently has 72 female judges spread around a number of different courts. Before 2003, there were only six female judges. And according to the same statistics as obtained by NIQASH, there are 1,470 male judges in Iraq today.
Of those 72 female judges, only seven work in the criminal courts, where serious offences are dealt with. Two work in the even more senior appeals courts. There is also one female judge working as part of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal, which deals with crimes committed by officials of Saddam Hussein’s administration – her name, like the other judges working as part of the tribunal, cannot be revealed for security reasons.
The other 63 female judges work in different areas in the legal profession, such as in the family courts, in other minor courts where less serious misdemeanours are trialled or as notaries.

The International Committee on the Red Cross (ICRC) issued the following statement today:

Geneva/Baghdad (ICRC) – Women in Iraq who must shoulder the burden of caring for their families alone because their husbands have been killed, arrested or disabled by war injuries, or have gone missing, are among those worst affected by the consequences of years of armed conflict. While recognizing the efforts that have already been undertaken to improve their situation, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) calls for further action to be taken on the part of all concerned.

"Women heading households and their dependents have to struggle with extremely harsh living conditions," said Magne Barth, the head of the ICRC delegation in Baghdad, at a press conference today in the Iraqi capital. He presented the results of a survey carried out by the ICRC to acquire a better understanding of the state of Iraqi women supporting their families alone. The survey involved interviews with 119 women and depicted the hard choices they have to make in order to feed their families in the absence of a husband, father or brother. The ICRC also released a film today that highlights the difficulties the women have to face.

"Around 70 per cent of them spend more than they earn. They have to borrow money, sell what little they own and avoid expenses by going without health care or by taking their children out of school," said Mr Barth. "Moreover, 40 per cent of the families we surveyed have to send children, usually sons as young as 12 or 13 years old, out to work."

An estimated one million women struggle to feed their families and continue to depend, to some extent, on outside help. The ICRC strives to help them overcome the loss of a former breadwinner. In particular, it aids them in their efforts to register with Iraq's welfare allowance system. "Since 2009, the ICRC has reimbursed the travel expenses incurred by nearly a thousand women, mainly in Baghdad and Anbar, but also in Basra and Missan, when they had to gather the various documents required to apply for the allowance," said Mr Barth. "Around 6,000 more women will be given financial support this year and next to tide them over until they start to receive benefits from the social welfare system."

"We also offer micro grants to those willing to start an income-generating activity," he said. "However, the grants cannot meet all needs, and not all women are able to launch a small business."

The ICRC supports all efforts aiming to improve the situation of women heading households. It will continue to assist the women and others involved in helping them.

For further information, please contact:
Claire Kaplun (French, English, Spanish), ICRC Iraq, tel: +964 780 913 1626
Marie Claire Feghali (Arabic, English, French), ICRC Iraq, tel: +962 777 399 614
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 41 or +41 79 536 92 57

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll note his latest exhibit:

Faces of Hunger

Photographs by David Bacon

Oakland City Hall Rotunda
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, California

August 22 to September 2
Reception Thursday, August 25, 5:30 to 7:30 PM

There is no one face of hunger. It is in every neighborhood in our community -- young and old, working or unemployed. These photographs were taken to illustrate the Food Bank's 2010 Hunger Study, a quadrennial census of hunger and food insecurity in California's seventh-largest county. According to recent data, 16% of Alameda County's population is food insecure, but 47% of those people have household incomes nearly double the poverty line. This means that they don't qualify for any nutrition assistance prrograms, making the Food Bank and its member agencies their only safety net. These photographs document the people in Alameda County who don't get enough food. But they also document the efforts in our community, by the Food Bank and its member agencies, to help meet those needs. They tell the story of people helping people to survive.
Alameda County Community Food Bank | 7900 Edgewater Drive | Oakland | CA | 94621

These photographs are available for exhibition. For more information, contact Keisha Nzewi,

For more articles and images, see

See also Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press, 2008)
Recipient: C.L.R. James Award, best book of 2007-2008

See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US
Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

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